Editorial Speculation

How about those Game of Thrones premiere record ratings!

fireworks

When I wrote in my previous ratings post that “we can break that 6 million mark this season, perhaps sooner rather than later” I definitely did not dare hoping for such numbers already for the premiere. Not only was six million reached, but well exceeded, and the number of viewers was higher by more than a million compared to the previous high-water mark the show has set. No wonder that HBO Go crashed on the premiere day!

In terms of comparison with other shows, we can now establish that we have firmly left the heyday numbers of True Blood far behind. The premiere episode was also the most tweeted about episode in the history of HBO. As far as average viewership per episode across all platforms is concerned, the updated season three numbers show that Game of Thrones is now level with the most successful HBO show ever, The Sopranos, at 14.4 million (reached during their season four). The current GoT season is well off to breaking even this record, so keep that number in mind.

Winter(Phil) tweeted this helpful post as an illustration of how people will flock to complex and challenging tv over time.

Due to rounding when first revealed by EW, the exact number of first-hour viewers as now reported stands even higher, at 6.64 million. The curve certainly is steep, and shocking end-season events appear to be very helpful when attracting new people to the show between seasons. Sounds logical. Comparing season finales to next season openers, reveals that the transition from S1 to S2 upped the numbers by almost a million, S2 to S3 remained about level, while the latest transition added well over one million viewers. Such are the effects of red weddings. Let us hope that the numbers don’t drop much next week; at least in previous seasons that has not been the case.

Can we climb even higher this year? No doubt. S1 added 0.8 million over its course from the premiere to the finale, S2 0.4 million, and S3 1.0 million, roughly speaking. Next stop, 7 million? All bets are off. There is plently of exciting content this year that will make the season popular. Expect updated comparison graphics halfway through the season as usual.

57 Comments

  • The Red Wedding will really hurt the ratings… not! People will stop watching… not!

    How ridikkulus to believe such a thing, when it is known that a shock element will draw people instead of repel them.

    Good for Thrones! The Queen of Shows, mother of TV, breaker of ratings!

  • The ratings were only that high because of all of the providers giving a free HBO weekend. I think we should expect next week’s episode to be much lower.

  • I knew the red wedding would only increase viewership. Nobody quits this story. :)

    Still, this is surreal to me. I remember being so worried before Season 1 aired, as to whether anyone would watch. To me, the story seemed too complex to ever reach anywhere near True Blood numbers. So glad I was wrong!

    The day it surpasses Sopranos as most popular HBO show ever will be really exciting.

  • After episodes 8 and 9 the finale will get so many views… Which is great since it seems fairly possible that the finale will be the best episode of GOT ever!

  • fryguy:
    The ratings were only that high because of all of the providers giving a free HBO weekend. I think we should expect next week’s episode to be much lower.

    They don’t count those free weekend viewers in the ratings, meaning the actual numbers were even higher.

  • And you have to remember that these are the US-only(?) numbers. The viewership in Europe has probably increased about the same rate with those who watched it not via HBO but another (HBO-official) channel like Sky (in Germany etc.)

  • Lex,

    I had the exact same feeling. The fact that GOT has beaten True Blood when it comes to viewing rates and is now by far HBO’s most successful show in terms of pretty much everything is still a bit surreal to me.

  • Summer is Coming:
    The Red Wedding will really hurt the ratings… not! People will stop watching… not!

    How ridikkulus to believe such a thing, when it is known that a shock element will draw people instead of repel them.

    Good for Thrones! The Queen of Shows, mother of TV, breaker of ratings!

    Yeah, at some point in the future the Internet may once again explode because a notable character on Game of Thrones has died in a particularly shocking or brutal way. On that day, a particularly lazy columnist or entertainment journalist will trot out their boilerplate speculation piece, wondering just how many viewers the show is going to lose because of this most recent tragedy. And on that day, we can safely ignore that column because we know that in their rush for pageviews, the writer will have overlooked several potential simpler, far more likely eventualities.

    1) Those people who say “I’m never watching this show again!” are lying.

    2) Those people are sincere but are simply overreacting in the heat of the moment, and will eagerly return once they’ve had a chance to cool down.

    Or, by far the most likely option …

    3) The vocally outraged contingent who, to the casual or untrained eye, appear to dominate the online conversation actually comprise such a microscopic section of the total fanbase that they’re statistically negligible, and will be far outweighed by new viewers eager to jump in and see what everyone’s shouting about.

    There may come a day when the Live+SD audience for Game of Thrones levels off, or experiences a gradual period of attrition because viewers are losing patience with certain aspects of the story. But the idea that viewers are going to abandon the show en masse because a popular character died has been proven to be patently false. In fact, the opposite is true. In the business of television, any publicity is good publicity … the more shocking and controversial the better.

  • Torrenting records must have been smashed too, in the comments section of another post was somebody who said the the top 200 torrent downloads on thepiratebay were nothing but different versions of s04e01.

  • Brace for potential major spoiler (but more likely some brilliant poker-facing):

    Only read if you’re a book-reader:

    In an interview with THE TIMES (hidden behind a paywall), Charles Dance says he will be back filming GoT in Croatia and Northern Ireland this summer. Errr…

  • Jared,

    Yeah, Ridikkulus! how a small number of people makes a whole fanbase seem smaller. I never believed the red wedding will be an Impediment(a)! for the ratings to go even higher.. yet I was still Stupefy!ed when I saw the number. I never Expect(o)!ed it.

    BlackTalon, Those numbers just spiraled out of control.. around the planet!

    Adam Whitehead, or maybe he will come back… to film in a coffin! but maybe he already filmed such a scene in advance

  • Anyone think GoT will take a year off now? It would be commercial suicide. Sure Sopranos did, but the last two seasons were the worst of the series and the hiatus really hurt them IMO. Sure they had an enormous showing for the finale that may never be beat, but that’s because it had become such a household phenomenon, with Tony Soprano becomming an iconic character.

    GoT doesn’t have that stand alone character. It perseveres due to the epic storytelling and auspicious acting ensamble that continues to amaze and delight.

  • Adam Whitehead:
    In an interview with THE TIMES (hidden behind a paywall), Charles Dance says he will be back filming GoT in Croatia and Northern Ireland this summer. Errr…

    Only as a rigid corpse next to the privy, then during the viewing….I assume.

  • Adam Whitehead:
    Brace for potential major spoiler (but more likely some brilliant poker-facing):

    Only read if you’re a book-reader:

    In an interview with THE TIMES (hidden behind a paywall), Charles Dance says he will be back filming GoT in Croatia and Northern Ireland this summer. Errr…

    Huh.
    My guess is that he’ll be filming the funeral and portraying the extremely stinky corpse in the first episode or two.

    The show has never made changes that major before. It just doesn’t seem possible in any way that’ll leave Tywin alive.
    Everyone get ready for a ton of whining and crying from people who will jump to wild conclusions and assume EVERYTHING WILL BE RUINED! So many whaaambulances will have to be called.

  • Rygar,

    GoT could take.. half a year off? come back in Autumn 2015? if they need the time, of course, to make affc/adwd the best they can! The Sopranos came from thin air, GoT is based on a book series! And GoT has at least 2 iconic characters: Tyrion and Dany! an maybe, just maybe, Jon Snow.. but he’s still not there… more like Arya.

  • Rygar:
    Anyone think GoT will take a year off now?It would be commercial suicide.Sure Sopranos did, but the last two seasons were the worst of the series and the hiatus really hurt them IMO.Sure they had an enormous showing for the finale that may never be beat, but that’s because it had become such a household phenomenon, with Tony Soprano becomming an iconic character.

    GoT doesn’t have that stand alone character.It perseveres due to the epic storytelling and auspicious acting ensamble that continues to amaze and delight.

    Anyone who thinks GoT would take a hiatus to wait for GRRM to catch up is living in a dreamworld.

  • Arya’s actress said There are major plot points changed from the book. I’m pretty sure Tywin has to die though… but I will bet anyone $100 it’s not while taking a dump. That will not happen on TV.

  • Adam Whitehead:
    Brace for potential major spoiler (but more likely some brilliant poker-facing):

    Only read if you’re a book-reader:

    In an interview with THE TIMES (hidden behind a paywall), Charles Dance says he will be back filming GoT in Croatia and Northern Ireland this summer. Errr…

    Thats the greatest f**king news ever! Love him to much …

  • HouseRay,

    For a show that has no qualms with shadow babies, flayings, and dick leeches, I find it odd that they’d draw the line at privy assasinations.

  • WeirwoodTreeHugger: Huh.
    My guess is that he’ll be filming the funeral and portraying the extremely stinky corpse in the first episode or two.

    The show has never made changes that major before.It just doesn’t seem possible in any way that’ll leave Tywin alive.

    Although I guess as Tyrion goes through his “heart of darkness” journey in S5, I can see him being haunted by Tywin ghosts or surreal, nightmarish images involving his father.

  • double renewal bitches! HBO not messing around…show is absolutely going over 7 seasons

  • Jared: Off-Topic (but not actually, because clearly these numbers played some role …)

    Game of Thrones has just been renewed … for Season 5 AND Season 6!

    Holy shit! I thought they’d renew season 5 but season 6 too! It sounds crazy even saying season 6 outloud!

  • Adam Whitehead:
    Brace for potential major spoiler (but more likely some brilliant poker-facing):

    Only read if you’re a book-reader:

    In an interview with THE TIMES (hidden behind a paywall), Charles Dance says he will be back filming GoT in Croatia and Northern Ireland this summer. Errr…

    Well, won’t he have to play a corpse in a couple scenes at least? :) I assume Tywin’s funeral is Season 5 material.

  • BlackBloc: Well, won’t he have to play a corpse in a couple scenes at least? :) I assume Tywin’s funeral is Season 5 material.

    If he was playing a corpse he would not be filming in Croatia.
    The indoor open coffin scene would 99% be only shot in Ireland.

  • Just think how gargantuan the ratings would be if certain people weren’t too tight to subscribe to HBO.

  • If viewership doesn’t collapse before the end of the series, the final season’s finale is going to do some ridiculous same night numbers.

  • I think the fact that HBO had all the seasons on demand in the run up to there premiere really helped the big ratings growth. Last season they did not do that. I wish they would just leave the entire series on demand all season to help keep the ratings growing because they are scheduled to remove it on April 21st. I don’t understand why they would want to take it down when on demand binge viewing in such a helpful way to get new viewers.

  • JamesL,

    i think they may start doing this in the future. granted they’re more about hype with thrones than any other show they have running, so that may be part of it. but people are well aware of hbogo at this point, one of it’s advantages being access to the full catalog, but there’s no reason to not make the vods available directly anymore.

  • BlackTalon:
    Torrenting records must have been smashed too, in the comments section of another post was somebody who said the the top 200 torrent downloads on thepiratebay were nothing but different versions of s04e01.

    Lol that didn’t happen, but there are a shit ton of people torrenting it. I just checked now, the torrents for this episode that are in the top 100 add up to having about 141,000 seeders as of this post. That is a lot of people, especially when you consider many people (such as myself) are selfish pirates who don’t seed after pirating. So approximately one #%!@ ton of people have torrented the episode in total.

  • I think the google trends for game of thrones is also looking extremely impressive, here’s a link comparing Game of Thrones with some other prime time shows over the years:

    http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=%2Fm%2F0524b41%2C%20%2Fm%2F02pqs8l%2C%20%2Fm%2F0gvsh7l%2C%20%2Fm%2F080dwhx%2C%20%2Fm%2F0qrzyqw&cmpt=q

    That is a graph showing how often those shows have been googled, and the data through sunday (not even counting monday yet) already has Game of Thrones matching Red Wedding peaks. Damn impressive if you ask me.

  • Who would’ve thought this in those early days. This is more than I ever expected. It’s great news.

  • GOT is so huge now. Im from the Philippines the show is huge over here n9w. The marketing is incredible especially for thia season. I was surprised when there is a huge booth about Game of thrones season 4 and HBOgo in a mall i was going to. Before the end of season 3 epiaode 9, GoT is basically non existent here.

    Sorry for my bad english

  • HouseRay:
    Arya’s actress said There are major plot points changed from the book. I’m pretty sure Tywin has to die though… but I will bet anyone $100 it’s not while taking a dump. That will not happen on TV.

    Except Arya hasn’t read the books so…

  • Idk why people are claiming people with a free membership on Sunday weren’t counted in the ratings. They ABSOLUTELY were, why wouldn’t they be, they were still watching hbo. This will be confirmed next week when the ratings unfortunately drop back below 6 million.

  • I’m in Italy now, and I went for dinner at a friend’s house and they had GoT on Blu-Ray, but in Italian. It was a delight to watch haha Il Trono Di Spade.

  • Darkstar: Idk why people are claiming people with a free membership on Sunday weren’t counted in the ratings. They ABSOLUTELY were, why wouldn’t they be, they were still watching hbo. This will be confirmed next week when the ratings unfortunately drop back below 6 million.

    Source?

    AFAIR the season premieres of GOT aired always on a free hbo weekend (i distinctly remember that this exact same conversation already took place a few times now on this website). But the ratings never dropped for more than 100k viewers from season premiere to the second episode. So, yeah.

  • Darkstar,

    You are clearly new around here because as Cookie said, this same conversation has taken place every year since the show first started airing. Either it doesn’t count or free weekends only result in the tiniest of increases in viewership